Friday, September 30, 2011

FUN Friday

TGIF - Let's have some fun!!!

I have to admit that I watch Toddlers & Tiaras. Partly because it freaks me out that anyone would dress their daughter up to the extent that most of them do - fake tans, fake teeth, etc. And their behavior! Oh my goodness, if my niece spoke to my sister-in-law the way these kids do, she wouldn't be allowed out of the house until high school graduation!

This probably isn't going to be funny if you don't love football or watch Inside the NFL, but I rewound this three times because I couldn't stop laughing. These guys love to rib each other. Phil Simms had a horrible week and they really let him have it. I loved the Family Feud buzzer when they replayed his picks. And that picture of Big Daddy has to be at least a decade old. I don't think he's been that thin since he came out of college...

I am REALLY excited to see this on Saturday. I heart Joseph Campbell something fierce.

Have you woken up and become the hero of your own life?

I'm following my bliss this weekend - hiking and Venice (henna tattoos and rollerblading and lovely weirdness - oh my!) and rewriting.

What about you - any big weekend plans?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday Wishes

This is Wednesday leaning out of her cat tree. She may look like just your average gray tabby cat, but she has many skills. Most of these skills, she uses for The Good. Okay, 'most' might be a slight exaggeration. Wednesday is a good little kitty, though, at heart. She loves her family, loves her sisters, loves annoying those sisters and she also loves to grant wishes. Every Wednesday morning, I will rub the side of the cat house and summon our magic cat!

My Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) Weather Button - Or even a magical hat that controls the weather wherever I am! That's it...the HAT instead. It won't do me any good to have a weather button in this house if I have to teach a half hour away. We have perfect weather this weekend - overcast in the mornings so we could hike Lily and then it burned off for about 77 degree afternoons. Just gorgeous. Today, it's 94 degrees. Too hot to walk her. Too hot when I have to roll my cart across the campus to get from one classroom to another. I had two upstairs with no elevator. That was fun! My last class had no air conditioning (the unit broke weeks ago and they're going to try to go without fixing until they absolutely have to next year sometime). Fun times. I can't imagine how hard it is for a room full of sweaty 5th graders to pay attention, but they managed to. They were even excited about the game. But how nice it would have been to roll in with my magical hat and take that classroom down 20 degrees for all of us! See, it's not just a selfish wish. I'd be helping out everyone with my magical weather hat!

2) Hiking Partner - I'm visiting my mom and I would love to do a morning hike tomorrow! However, the area that I want to hike is not safe to go alone (mountain lion - yikes!). I put out a last minute plea on Facebook and would love to have someone join me so fingers crossed one of my friends comes through!

3) A home for Bug - He and his brother (dog) and cat siblings found themselves without a home after their mom died suddenly and unexpectedly last week. He's a very well behaved one year old male dog who is confused by this sudden turn of events. It always kills me when dogs and cats end up at the shelter through the death of their caregiver. So many people write off shelter dogs as someone else's problems when they're really there through no fault of their own - bad owners who didn't make a lifetime commitment, owners who didn't secure their yards (dogs don't always find their way home, you know) or death of their caregiver. Very, very sad. I'm wishing really hard for Bug and his four legged siblings. They aren't looking for homes together - they'd be happy to go their different ways as long as they got homes. So my hardest wish this week is for them.

What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

FUN Friday

TGIF! Let's have Stephen Colbert take us into the weekend, shall we?

You know how much I love animals. This was too cute to pass up.

I don't know what my favorite part is - the running to the safety of the bed, the head tilt as she listens(almost as though she's thinking 'did they just think they did!') or the full on head back all out howl along with them.

We did a Worst Movies Blogfest on Monday hosted by Alex Cavanaugh. This is the trailer from one of my top ten FAVORITE movies. All cheese.

If you haven't seen it - you've got to rent it. Seriously. You primitives can thank me later.

I have to end with Mitch. Warning: Language people. Mitch liked F word as much as I do (sorry, Mom).

2nd Grade Kindness - When I called little Gemma up, she thrust her hand into the grab bag and came out with the empty milk carton.
Me: What is it?
Gemma: (giggles) Milk.
Me: Kind or Unkind?
Class: KIND!
Me: Actually, it's unkind. I know a lot of tv shows and movies show people giving milk to cats but it's not the best thing for them. Milk can upset a cat's tummy. When they're kittens, where does their milk come from?
Gemma: Their mom.
Me: Where does our milk in the store come from?
Gemma: The cow.

Apparently, there's only one out there supplying all the milk. That must be a very tired cow!

Lily Story:
I was walking Lily tonight and two boys were standing out in their front yard. One looked to be about five and the other a few years older. The five year old leaned in to the other boy and whispered really loudly, "I hope this dog doesn't bite because I think I might want to pet it." How cute is that. And she didn't bite. But she did slobber a bit.

And my bestie Mel bought Lily a Halloween costume today.
We put it on her tonight. She's such a goofball! But I think she makes a pretty cute Bumblebee!

Any big weekend plans? Whatever you do, I hope you all have a FABULOUS weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday Wishes

This is Wednesday leaning out of her cat tree. She may look like just your average gray tabby cat, but she has many skills. Most of these skills, she uses for The Good. Okay, 'most' might be a slight exaggeration. Wednesday is a good little kitty, though, at heart. She loves her family, loves her sisters, loves annoying those sisters and she also loves to grant wishes. Every Wednesday morning, I will rub the side of the cat house and summon our magic cat!

My Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) An Organized Pantry - I've always been overly cautious growing up in earthquake country. As I get older, I realize the need to be prepared. When San Diego had that massive power outage that stretched into Orange County, over to Arizona and down to Baja California, I went a bit overboard. I decided that I wasn't stocked up ENOUGH. I admit that writing an apocalyptic novel as well as reading Life As We Knew It haven't helped matters. It doesn't take much money to stock up those cupboards, though. And it's practical because we're vegetarians so I use beans in a lot of dishes. All the food will be used whether a disaster hits or not. But it's a mess right now. It was already well stocked. After that final trip to the grocery store, beans, vegetables and fruits ended up three levels high. There's no rhyme or reason to it. It took me a good fifteen minutes to get a can of corn out for my Summer Succotash last night. I need to get in there and organize it, but who has the time? I want to open it tonight and just have it be beautifully organized. Or at least get another GroupOn offer for a "special" on organizing so I can pay someone a small sum to do it.

2) I have a new obsession - the Big Gulp. Soooo bad for me. I like the Diet Dr. Pepper with just a shot of Vanilla and Cherry in it. It's like energy in a cup. I know that it's bad for me. I can almost feel myself getting cancer with every sip. But I can't stop. Gone is the Green Tea obsession, replaced with this much less healthy obsession. I have to drive five miles to get it, though. It's hard to justify the waste of gas. If I had my own Big Gulp machine, though...or just a neverending Big Gulp cup that refilled exactly when I wanted it to. I promise I'd be good and only have one three days a week.

3) My mom - She's getting older, but she's not THAT old. However, she's got arthritis in her lower back. In typical mom fashion, she refuses to let it slow her down so she's continuing her daily walks and trips to the gym. By the evening, she is in so much pain that she can't move. I know the arthritis isn't going to go away. That's not even a wish our magical Wednesday can grant. But perhaps she can give Mom a little help with slowing down and listening to her body rather than fighting against it. I don't like seeing her in pain. I can't imagine how frustrating it is after living an active life to be limited by your own body. I just want her to be able to take it easy so she's not in so much pain that her pain medication won't even take the edge off. She's refusing the Vicodin the doctor prescribed because it makes her feel funny and gives her a headache the next morning. Over the counters aren't really dulling the pain at this point because she's being TOO ACTIVE. So, Wednesday, get her to slow down a bit. She's earned it!

What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday our magical cat?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Worst Movies Ever Blogfest

Alex is having another one of his fantastically awesome blogfests.

Here, in no particular order, are ten of the worst movies that I have ever seen (and this was much harder to narrow down that I would have thought!):

1) Titanic - That's right, I said it! If she had gotten in the boat with her mother, he would have had the door to himself. SHE killed him. That's not romantic. It's sad.

2) Showgirls - I don't what is the worst part of this film: the cheesy dialogue or the over the top acting.

3) Battlefield Earth - Bad script, bad acting, bad idea.

4) Dances with Wolves - I know that I'm going to take a lot of crap for this. I'm NOT a Costner fan. He phoned this one in completely. I fell asleep in the theater. Because I thought it was ME, I tried it again on video...twice. Fell asleep both times. I actually use it on nights when my insomnia is particularly severe. His droning voice has me out in no time.

5) Howard the Duck - It's a duck. Who smokes. And the song is incredibly annoying! This might not have made my list, but I spent a summer as a nanny and I had to watch this every. single. day. It was enough to drive me mad. The 4 year old could not get enough of that man in a duck suit.

6) Congo - Bruce Campbell was the best part of this movie. He was the only good part of the movie. I know movie adaptations are expected to be bad, but this one went above and beyond. Maybe because the book was so incredible (in my opinion), we expected the movie to be the same? Or at least decent. It fell far, far short.

7) Lady in the Water - I think when you set the bar as high as he did with The Sixth Sense, it's natural to fall a little short. A little. This one didn't seem to leave the ground. It tripped and face planted. Slow and boring. When I saw it, I wasn't surprised Disney passed.

8) Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Lightning Thief - Such a disappointment. I really don't understand why you would take a best selling book and stray so far from it? If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? This was a great book. They even messed up the next movie in the series with their twisting of the story. I'm sure that's why it's not even slated for production until next year sometime. They probably had a heck of a time figuring out how to fix it...

9) Cowboys vs. Aliens - This movie had so much potential. I wanted so badly for it to reach that potential. What an amazing cast! It actually was a very good western until the aliens came in at the end. It was such a waste of talent.

10) Freddie Got Fingered - I have to admit that I didn't do much research on this movie before I took my ex-fiance's ten year old son to see it. Have you seen it? Imagine watching the elephant scene with a ten year old seated next to you. Yes, this whole experience taught me that you never, ever, ever let the ten year old pick the movie AT the box office without having watched a trailer and checked the rating on the movie first. This is probably the worst movie I have ever seen in my life.

Be sure to check out all the other entries over at Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog.

What about you - what are some of the worst movies you've ever seen?

Friday, September 16, 2011

FUN Friday

TGIF! I hope everyone had a wonderful week - and if you didn't, the weekend is here so let's laugh a little to help get us over the week.

I had a very close relationship with my grandparents. I still miss them over a decade after my grandma's death and five years since my grandpa passed. This video reminded me of them. This couple doesn't look like them, but sure acts like them!

For all of the Moms out there who write - and drive!

And a little Mitch - Mitch makes everything better!


I promised you nephew stories! He's just too cute for words. So we're playing Mario Kart (which is nowhere near as easy as he makes it look, btw) and I end up in last place.

Me: I REALLY suck at this game.
Dillon: Aunt Jenn, you can't say that! (whispers) It's a bad word.
Me: But you have to admit, I'm really, really bad.
Dillon: It's just a GAME, Aunt Jenn.

After four more tracks, I still wasn't any better.

Me: I can't do this! How can you do this?
Dillon: (shrugs) You just stay on the road.

Ahhhhhh, now I get it. Because I was driving off into space, lava and cactus on purpose.

Have I mentioned that my nephew is super dramatic? He comes by it honestly - his dad was an actor.

He wanted juice with his lunch but my mom just got new carpet. It's white. Yes, a grandma got WHITE carpet. I couldn't let him have his juice with the lid off. I was super paranoid that he was going to spill it all over. So I would twist the lid off, hand it to him (while keeping my hand under the bottle as though I'd be able to catch every ounce of dark red juice that spills) and promptly take it back after a sip.

This worked a total of two times. Then he wouldn't give it back.

Dillon: I need the lid off.
Me: Dillon, no. You might spill it and we'll be busted.
Dillon: I won't spill. I promise! I need the lid off.
Me: Aunt Jenn says no.

Aunt Jenn manages to get the juice bottle back.

Dillon (throws his 5 year old hands up in the air): That's IT! I give up! I'm going home. ("Home" is twenty miles away)

He stomped out the door.

I laughed until I cried.

He got to drink his juice with the lid off.

He spilled it.

I cleaned it up.

Mom doesn't know. :-)

Shhhhhh, don't tell her.

Thank the gods for Stainguard.


When I have a break in between classes, it's not always worth it to go all the way to the teacher's lounge. The school that I was at last week was like a maximum security prison (elementary school even). I had to get buzzed through two checkpoints just to get in and then a third to get to the second level of the school. I was sitting in the hallway on a break with my cart next to me (all my presentation supplies are in it) and a little girl comes running by. She stops, backs up and scrunches up her cute little face to say, "You no have a home?"

She was really concerned so I couldn't laugh at the whole absurdity of the question - as if a homeless person was going to go through the trouble (or even be able to get through them) of checkpoints just to sit in the hallway and read.

We do Dog Safety with the young kids three years in a row (Pre-K, Kinder and 1st) to really drive home when it's okay to touch a dog and when it's not okay whether the dog is their own or someone else's. Sometimes I get the same kids two or three years in a row. Apparently, this little boy had me last year because he did my entire presentation right along with me!

Me: Cooper has a favorite toy. Do you want to see it?
Class: YES!
I pull out his toy.
Class: It's a banana!
Boy: But it's not just ANY banana - it's his squeaky banana! He could play with it all day long! It gives her a headache!

He had it down to the inflection in my voice. It was funny and creepy all at the same time. It's amazing enough to remember the presentation word for word, but to get my tone of voice down? Wow!

We have company coming into town this weekend. My cousin's son is giving up his job at the L.A. Times to join the Army. So Tim and Trish are coming down to pack him up. He gets two months at home with the family before reporting for boot camp. A courageous decision that he feels very led to do. We'll be enjoying some family time. And, of course, CHARGERS football on Sunday!

What about you - any big weekend plans?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday Wishes

This is Wednesday leaning out of her cat tree. She may look like just your average gray tabby cat, but she has many skills. Most of these skills, she uses for The Good. Okay, 'most' might be a slight exaggeration. Wednesday is a good little kitty, though, at heart. She loves her family, loves her sisters, loves annoying those sisters and she also loves to grant wishes. Every Wednesday morning, I will rub the side of the cat house and summon our magic cat!

My Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) Book Suggestions - I just finished another stack. Oh how I love to read! I'm getting seriously low. Only four books left on my TBR pile! Those will be devoured by next week so I need more suggestions! What are you reading? Share with me! YA, Dystopian, Adult - I will read anything!!

2) A Transporter - One that takes me from home right into whatever classroom I am teaching in. I could get an extra half hour of sleep in the morning or a half hour of writing or cleaning get the picture. Plus, I don't get aggro sitting in the lovely Los Angeles traffic. Maybe aggro is the wrong word. Stressed. That's the more accurate word. I don't get mad, I worry that I won't make it to the school in time. What if I get there with only a minute to spare and I can't find a parking space? What if I get there half an hour late? A transporter would make my life just about perfect! I'd even promise to use it only for work. No abusing the privilege.

3) Dillon - My poor nephew is having a hard time adjusting to school. He's been in trouble almost every day since he started. He can't keep his hands to himself in line, he can't focus on the teacher because he's busy picking at the carpet, he came out of the bathroom with his pants unbutton (thanks to his mom who sent him in the one pair of pants he can't button on his own). He's used to being the darling of his pre-school where he was much loved because everyone had watched him grow from a 4 pound premie to a healthy little boy. He's a trickster and loves to be the class clown. His teacher this year is very serious. Their personalities are not a good match and it seems this will be a loooooong school year for both of them. So my wish is that Dillon can make it through school tomorrow without getting reprimanded. No timeouts. One day at a time so I'm starting with tomorrow. I want him to love school as much as I did, not look forward to school because he gets to play with his friends at recess and lunch!

What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday our magical cat?

Sunday, September 11, 2011


While I enjoyed my football today, the events of 2001 were never far from my mind. At the stadium, I bawled like a baby. My sunglasses hid it. There weren't any dry eyes so there was no shame. Even the football players shed tears. They helped the PD and FD unfurl our flag. We watched flyovers by our military and got to see an eagle in flight. It was all very, very touching. And it felt so...American. We were chanting U-S-A all the way up to the kickoff.

Back at my brother's after the win, we watched the Jets game. There were a few commercials that got us all teared up again. I wanted to share them with my blog peeps. They're too special to miss.

Here are some of my favorite commercial tributes:

Budweiser aired this originally during SuperBowl XXXVI as a tribute, but they didn't want to profit from the tragedy so they pulled it after that. They did a remake that they aired today and it teared me up every time I watched it.

This one was beautiful and amazing. You'll need tissue, I think.

I have been known to like movies that no one else finds much value in. 13th Warrior is one of those films. Though the plot has holes you could drive a semi through, it's still up there on my list because it features what I see as the epitome of true heroism - the Vikings knew what they were up against and knew that death most likely awaited them. They didn't meet it willing, but they didn't run from it either. They knew what had to be done and they did it.

I think this truly fits the NYPD and NYFD that day. One of the documentaries showed a large group of them in the lobby waiting to go up into the Towers that morning. There were thuds and the thuds were jumpers. I vividly remember one of the men saying, "If they're willing to jump, how bad is it up there?" I saw fear in the eyes of some of those men. Does that make any less brave? No. Being brave is not the absence of fear - it's doing what must be done despite the fear. They didn't HESITATE. They didn't WAVER. They knew it was bad and they still went up. They had a job to do. They were true heroes. They honor this country. Their memories honor this country.

My heart goes out to the families of the fallen.

What about you - how did you spend the ten year anniversary of September 11th? Did you honor the fallen with volunteer work? Did you spend it with friends and family?

Friday, September 9, 2011

FUN Friday

TGIF! Let's have some fun!

I'm not sure how funny this is...since I've done it myself.

Maybe it's all the male enhancement offers I get in my SPAM folder, but I found this commercial hilarious.

Do you ever happen upon a video on YouTube and you're not even sure how you got there? This is one of those. I love it for two reasons: 1) Thriller has always been one of my favorite songs and 2) It's always funny watching white boys try to dance. Although, you have to admit these guys are pretty impressive. It's one of those "I wish we had done this at my reception" things...

No funny kids stories to entertain you with this week, but I'm sure that I'll have plenty of funnies from my nephew as we're visiting him this weekend!

What about you - any big weekend plans?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday Wishes

This is Wednesday leaning out of her cat tree. She may look like just your average gray tabby cat, but she has many skills. Most of these skills, she uses for The Good. Okay, 'most' might be a slight exaggeration. Wednesday is a good little kitty, though, at heart. She loves her family, loves her sisters, loves annoying those sisters and she also loves to grant wishes. Every Wednesday morning, I will rub the side of the cat house and summon our magic cat!

My Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) The ability to keep white shirts WHITE! Our Paws and Learn shirts are white. I'm not sure where my head was when I ordered them. Our logo looks great on it. It really pops. But I have never in my entire life managed to drink coffee while driving and not get it on my shirt. Ever. The hubster uses the SAME travel mugs that I do and doesn't have an issue. Last week I made him seal the travel mug for me. No dice. As I was packing my cart for the school, I glanced down and had three big spots. I can wear white at home and drink out of an open coffee mug with no consequence. But put me in a car with a sippy cup and forget about it!

2) A Home for Handsome Dave
I see these stories again and again. Someone cut Davy's ears off with scissors. When I take Lily into schools and centers, we talk about how lame ears look when you home crop them. This is a perfect example of that. The dog does not look bad ass. He just looks like an ass. And if you think your dog is an extension of you, how does that make YOU look? Yeah. Not cool. Davy, despite the painful home crop job, still loves people. And other dogs. He aced his temperament tests and the shelter workers have been so impressed with him that he has been used to test all the other dogs. They don't get better than this, folks. Unfortunately, that won't save Davy's life. His time is up and he needs out in the next 24 hours or he will die at the shelter. Not his fault that he had a cruddy owner who dumped him unceremoniously after slicing his ears off. He deserves the BEST home ever. The BEST. And I'm wishing really hard for him.

3) No more ants!. Persistent little buggers, aren't they? I've tried everything recommended online. The ant traps were the first to go. They won't even go in them. Cinnamon? They go around it. The most effective method that I have found is using non-toxic dish washing liquid in a squirt bottle with water. I keep a clean house - and a spotless kitchen, but these little suckers can find crumbs my dog misses. And Lily doesn't miss much at all. Spray the area, wipe it down and they're dead. They track by scent so they don't come back. There. But they'll find something else. For instance, they love the sugar in mouthwash. Yep, crawled right inside of it and died. Which is fine. Threw that out. Sprayed everything down. New mouthwash is inside a ziploc bag. Then they discovered the cough's just been endless. The cat and dog food is in sealed containers now. We don't free feed Lily so that's not a problem but I've had to place the cat bowls in larger bowls of water. That worked like a charm! I empty them every day...dumping out dead ants. Knock on wood, we've been ant free for TWO days. I'm hoping that I beat them back enough they won't be making another appearance. Here's to my Wednesday Wish for no more of those little creepy suckers!

What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday?

Friday, September 2, 2011

FUN Friday

TGIF! Let's have some fun heading into the weekend.

Have I posted this one before? I can't remember...

This is for all my friends who own mutts. We've all wondered what exactly is in our dog. Well, the hubster doesn't. He only cares that Lily is a "good dog." It's always fun walking her - "Hey, is that a Weimeraner" (Um, never) "She's one of those blue pits, isn't she?" (Um, waaaaay too big by about 30 pounds) "She's a Lab, what?" (Well, she does have webbed feet so maybe but her ears aren't long enough and she's lazy) "Is she a mastiff?" (Definitely some of that in there) Maybe some day I'll get the test. But I don't know how accurate they are...
Dog DNA - watch more funny videos

This isn't funny. Zombies rarely are. But I am SO excited for Season 2!

Hide under the cars? WHAT? Um, NO.

Pre-school again this week. I had a four year old say, "Nice tail!" and when I turned around, he had Cooper's tail in his hands. We had just gone over where you can and can't touch a dog you are meeting for the first time, but I was so relieved that he wasn't talking about my tush that I let the teacher go over it with him again.

On Tuesday, a school booked us that 98% Chinese. They spoke Mandarin and I always enjoy listening to my presentation being translated into another language! In my very last class, I had one child named Jordan. His blonde hair and blue eyes stood out from his classmates. When everyone was seated, he became the spokesperson for the class.

"Hi, my name is Jordan and these," he says as he gestures all the way around himself, "are my friends."

"Wow, Jordan. You have a lot of friends."

"I do. They are all really nice. This is Sung. And that's Ying Ying. And this is Jun. And Chueng. Quon. Mei..."

The teacher had to interrupt him or he would have introduced me to all 23 of his classmates. It was so adorable!

I'm spending the weekend deep in rewrites - I have my post-it notes (color coded depending on character, plot, etc.) at the ready and my favorite pen! I'll mix in some great hour long workouts to get the blood flowing and brain pumping along with a lot of caffeine. That's my weekend! Broken up with a fun time on Saturday night with my Crit Girls!

What about you - what are your big weekend plans?